Tag Archives: fund raising

Advice from one missionary to another

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Recently I read some wise words from a veteran missionary to those out on the itineration trail raising their funds.  I won’t use the author’s name because he’s serving in what we call a “sensitive region” or a country that doesn’t want missionaries… go ahead and read between those lines.  So I will only say that these are not my words, but I totally agree with them and wanted to share them here.  I hope this wise advice finds fertile soil in some missionary’s heart.

A Warning to the Itinerant:

Missionaries are given the immense privilege of representing God’s heart to both the nations and the church. When we return from our fields of obedience we are invited into pulpits – grand and humble – to speak on behalf of both the lost and the Lord. We are feted and lauded – which can lead to pride. We observe shallowness and performance – which can lead to a critical spirit. The more we travel and speak, the more we must beware our own hearts. I sat down this weekend and wrote out some warnings to myself:

– I do not deserve the pulpit, I have not ‘earned’ it.
– I am not better than the ones I preach to.
– I cannot presume God’s favor or anointing
– I cannot live in sin and call others to holiness
– My life has to match my exhortations
– I can’t rely on old sermons. I am responsible to give God’s flock fresh bread. If a sermon is to be re-used, it must be fresh to my soul.
– I cannot allow any whisper of entitlement into my heart. I am not owed praise, respect, attention, or any financial offering.
– I cannot think my looks, height, posture, style, or natural ability is important, nor that natural gifts can in any way impart divine life to the hearer.
– I cannot waste God’s time or money with half-hearted preparation, reflection, passion, or effort.
– The flock must see and feel that I love them, and more importantly that I love Jesus.
– My spirit must be gentle even if my words are hard.
– I must have true humility and lowliness. Nothing is as proud or as rank as false humility, whether to the individual or before the congregation.
– I must care more about what God thinks than man, and must obey His promptings and speak as His oracle.
– If I do not ascend to the pulpit clothed and endued with the Holy Spirit, I am immediately exposed as naked and foolish before God, and it will not be long until I am exposed as a fraud before all men.
– I must have a holy terror of speaking in my own strength or from my own wisdom. I must have a heavenly horror of speaking what is false, exaggerated, or misleading. I must be terrified of speaking one word without the covering and impetus of the Spirit.

I noted with sadness this weekend that even if all is said in the right spirit and under God’s authority, some ears remain deaf, and others hear selectively. We cannot control our hearers, nor are we responsible for how they hear. We are responsible for what and how we speak. It is incumbent on us to speak the words of God in the way and spirit He requires. This is a fearful and awesome privilege. God help us. God watch over our hearts and lips.

 

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Crazy Costa Rica Facts

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Today I’m going to do something that I almost never do.  I’m going to shamelessly promote a friend’s blog.  Adam and Sarah Quinn are friends of ours who are raising their funds to come as missionaries to Costa Rica.  Hopefully they will be arriving next spring.  They have been coming down here on missions trips for ages, and the bug finally bit them, so to speak.  Anyhow, for the past 15 days or so they’ve been posting an interesting fact about Costa Rica on their blog once a day.  I thought those of you who are interested in travel and cross cultural adventures would be amused at some of the details that have captured their attention.  So scoot on over to Adam and Sarah Quinn’s blog and read their Crazy Costa Rica Facts… and feel free to send them a donation if you feel so inspired.  Tell them I sent you .  🙂  Chao!

Busting through the Brick Wall

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Part 4 of how we became missionaries.  If you missed the last 3 days, you might want to go back and read them too.  I hope this is an encouragement to someone.

We came home from our life changing trip to Mexico and took a few weeks to pray before we talked to anyone about becoming missionaries.  We knew that this could be just a “high” from being on the missions trip, so we wanted to let our emotions cool a bit.  When the idea just wouldn’t go away, we started the application process to become missionaries with our denomination.  We knew this process could take months, so we didn’t plan to tell anyone until we were well on our way.  But the story leaked out.  Our family was shocked and not at all happy.

We finished out another year of youth ministry before we were “officially” accepted as missionaries.  Then the fund-raising began.  We spent 21 months raising our funds for a 3 year term in Mexico.  At the 18 month mark we were stalled out.  Josh was working the phones for 12 hours a day, we were traveling every weekend to preach at different churches and ask for support, but nothing was working.  We were discouraged.  To top it all off, we had been trying to sell our house for the last 3 months.  It had been shown many times, but no offers yet.

Then one day we got a phone call that felt like a kick in the stomach.  It was July 1, a Thursday.  Our Head Quarters called us and said if we don’t make a significant improvement this month, we’re done.  I raged.  I cried.  I panicked.  I punched pillows.  How could they fire us?  We’d worked so hard for so long, it wasn’t our fault that churches weren’t picking us up.  What more did they want us to do?  But the day needed to continue, so Josh and I agreed to go about our day like normal and pray about it while we worked.

That day while I prayed I thought about Gideon who asked God for a sign.  He spread a fleece on the ground and asked that the ground be wet in the morning but the fleece be dry as a sign that God was really asking him to do a risky, crazy thing like tear down the household idol.  God made it happen.  So Gideon reversed the test the next day, just to be sure.  And the next morning the fleece was wet with dew but the ground was dry.  So there he had a clear answer- God wanted him to do the crazy, risky job.

When we came back together that evening, I shared my thoughts with Josh.  I said, “I think we need a sign that we are still on the right path.  I feel like there is a brick wall in our path and I don’t know if it means this is the end of the road.  I feel like the road continues beyond the wall, but I don’t know how to bust through the brick.”  So we decided to ask God for a miracle to show us that we are still supposed to go into missions.  We asked that our house would sell… that weekend… on 4th of July weekend.  Even though no one had looked at the house all week and it was a holiday weekend.  It was crazy, no one buys a house on 4th of July weekend!  We prayed.

The next morning we got a call from a real estate agent.  Someone wanted to see our house!  This was it!  I just knew it!  This was going to be the sign.  By the end of the night we had accepted their offer.  We sold our house.  We were still supposed to go into missions.  Somehow God was planning on punching through that brick wall.  Now we knew we were still supposed to walk this road.

All excited about the miracle, emboldened, we asked for another miracle.  Our missions agency wanted us to raise $500 in pledges by the end of the month.  We asked God for $500 in the next week.  But the goofy thing was that we were going to be spending a week up at a District Family Camp and we wouldn’t be making any phone calls all week.  Without making a single phone call, by the end of the week, we had $500 in new pledges!  God did it!

Again we asked for another $500 for the next week!  That week we were scheduled to be touring churches in Iowa and we would not be making phone calls that week either.  We prayed, and BAM!  God did it again!  Another $500 in monthly support came in.

The last two weeks were ear marked for packing and garage sales since we had to be out of our house by the end of the month.  No phone calling for those weeks either.  Yet we prayed again and each of those weeks we ended with $500 more in pledges.  Our deficit was filled.  Then one day I was standing in the garage selling junk and opening the mail at the same time.  There was a card from a little old lady that I had met at a church over a year ago.  My mouth dropped open.  Inside the card was a check for $10,000.  Our cash budget was blessed also.  God thought of everything!

We spent the last 6 months jam-packed into my parents’ basement again- homeless- as we awaited our December departure date.  We were on our way to Mexico to be missionaries.  Not only had God punched through that financial brick wall for us, but He had boosted our faith beyond measure.

Many times since then, we have gone back to that point in our history and remembered how God came to the rescue and was faithful to finish what He started in us.  Since then we have never doubted that God was leading us.  It was just too clear that His mighty arm was leading and sustaining us.  He doesn’t work the same way twice, but we’ve never been in such desperate financial need either.  Lesson learned:  Trust God, He can handle it.

Great is Thy Faithfulness!  Great is Thy Faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed thy hand hath provided-

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!